Last week the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu opened Brought to Light. In a radical departure from the old approach to collection display (semi-permanent hangs set in partitioned spaces) many of the collection highpoints have been re-staged in a new suite of spaces opening off a spacious central corridor.
The curators have taken a more speculative approach to their exhibition making, mixing the art of the past with contemporary art and allocating large spaces for installations of recent acquisitions by artists such as Bill Culbert, Nathan Pohio and John Reynolds. It'll be interesting to see what comes next. Will this show prove to be the first of a series of discrete exhibitions, or part one of an evolving show changing wall-by-wall, room-by-room?
The new approach also appears to be tuned to some current imperatives. As exhibition budgets shrink in New Zealand's recessionary economy and galleries consider their carbon footprints, there are financial and environmental downsides to flying art in from around the world, leading curators to look more often to their collections as a source of inspiration and art for their exhibitions.
Image: Ann Shelton, Wintering, after a Van der Velden study, Otira Gorge, 2008, C-type photograph, one of the artworks presented in Brought to Light